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The Malik Report

On the Chychrun freakout in Detroit

There are groups of Red Wings and Detroit sports fans who are absolutely furious right now, and I'm not sure whether their anger is reflexive, misplaced or just plain illogical.

These groups of fans are freaking out about the fact that the player the Phoenix Coyotes picked with the 1st round pick Detroit traded to Arizona in the Pavel Datsyuk trade, one Jakob Chychrun, has posted 1 goal, 2 assists and 3 points in 4 games while displaying a significant amount of talent and maturity.

According to the angriest of these fans, it has already been determined that Chychrun has proven to be THE "franchise defenseman" that the Red Wings so desperately needed to draft and develop, and as Ken Holland was unable to land Steven Stamkos with the $8.65 million in salary cap space that the Datsyuk trade opened up (with the Wings signing Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott), there's yet another reason to light the torches, sharpen the pitchforks and march on Holland's house to protest his staggering ineptitude.

According to the angriest of these fans, it's already been determined that Chychrun's career will leave the careers of the players who were drafted by Detroit, defensemen Dennis Cholowski and Filip Hronek, in the dust, and as a result, we've simply witnessed yet another clusterfuck of mis-managed assets traded for magic beans by Ken Holland.

I'll be the first to admit that Chychrun's scintillating start has me cringing, but I can only suggest that even the most well-meaning Holland Haters are making incredibly rash predictions about a trade with 6 moving parts.

We simply don't know whether Jakob Chychrun is going to be a "franchise defenseman" or whether he's headed back to Major Junior hockey before his 10 games of entry-level "slide" eligibility are up. We certainly know that he's a grade-A prospect--otherwise, the Coyotes wouldn't have taken on all that cap space for the right to draft him--but it's astonishingly premature to suggest that Chychrun is the "home run" and that the fact that neither Cholowski (a freshman at Saint Cloud State University) or Hronek (playing for the Saginaw Spirit) are NHL-ready makes them busts forever and ever.

We also simply don't know what kinds of impacts Nielsen and Vanek especially are going to have upon the Red Wings over the courses of their respective 5 and 1-year contracts, nor whether Ott will provide viable grit on the fourth line during his year with the Wings. There are many, many unknowns here...

And whether Ken Holland got snookered out of picking the player of a lifetime will take time to determine, as will the determination as to whether the sum of the Datsyuk trade was more "worth it" for Arizona or Detroit.

I understand that none of these words are going to sway those of you who have already made up your minds, and I understand that the die-hard Holland-haters would march on the man's house with torches and pitchforks if he sneezes.

But this trade involves 6 moving parts, including two prospects with potential of their own, and...

Hell, man, if Holland got snookered, good on Johan Chayka and the Arizona Coyotes for knowing what they wanted. We can't un-make this trade, and if it's yet another Holland blunder, it's yet another Holland blunder.

I'm not about to waste my time attempting to defend someone who's become Public Enemy #1 for so many Detroit sports fans. The trade is done, Chychrun is a Coyote, and the Wings weren't able to land Stamkos.

Instead, I'd prefer to root for Nielsen, Vanek and Ott, and to hope that Cholowski does develop into the first-pair defenseman who he's shown flashes of becoming, and that Hronek develops similarly. I've seen Cholowski and Hronek play, and their play is encouraging and exciting. Cholowski's the best stick-on-puck defender I've seen the Wings develop in ages, and Hronek is a dashing, daring puck-rusher who simply needs to put on weight.

The Red Wings' management did the best they could to rid themselves of Datsyuk's contract for both the purposes of making free agency moves and for the sake of drafting two prospects they believe in, and if they got screwed, it's going to take time to determine whether they got screwed, or how badly they got screwed.

If Chychrun does develop into the next Drew Doughty over the next year or two, sure, I'll share as much frustration about the trade as you already have...

But anointing Jakob Chychrun the next Drew Doughty four games into his NHL career isn't going to do much more than raise your blood pressure and waste your time.

It's way too early to pass final judgment on a trade with 6 moving parts, and 5 on Detroit's side. Find another reason to march on Holland's house with your torches and pitchforks for Halloween.

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Comments

duhduhduh's avatar

...and I’m not sure whether their anger is reflexive, misplaced or just plain illogical.

You mean, you can’t decide which flavor of irrational they are?  It won’t take long to see if Chychrun is legit.  I look at his situation like Larkin: if he passes the test, he ain’t going down after 9 games.

Posted by duhduhduh on 10/25/16 at 02:05 PM ET

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Plenty of people were complaining about this when it happened.  It should surprise NOBODY that follows hockey.  Pizza tastes way better when you lead a Holland free life!

Posted by pondrockit on 10/25/16 at 02:08 PM ET

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Would now be an inopportune time to point out that the Coyotes are in last place in the league?

Posted by BarryKlob on 10/25/16 at 02:09 PM ET

Primis's avatar

We simply don’t know whether Jakob Chychrun is going to be a “franchise defenseman” or whether he’s headed back to Major Junior hockey before his 10 games of entry-level “slide” eligibility are up.

We also simply don’t know what kinds of impacts Nielsen and Vanek especially are going to have upon the Red Wings over the courses of their respective 5 and 1-year contracts, nor whether Ott will provide viable grit on the fourth line during his year with the Wings. There are many, many unknowns here…

We also can’t prove Chychrun would be playing in DET now, instead of back in juniors.  Or next year.  Or the year after.  All signs point to the fact that he would be in juniors right now at least, to be honest.

Of all the complaints I have about Holland, that trade is not one of them I guess.

Would I have liked DET to get Chychrun?  Yes, of course.  He was at one point considered a Top 3 pick.  Obviously he has talent and upside.  But man, moving Pavel’s dead cap space… that was a good move I guess.  We’d probably take it again.  I mean… they managed to move Pavel’s contract without losing any of their premier prospects or players already in the system.  Nobody really thought DET would manage that.

Posted by Primis on 10/25/16 at 02:13 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Also:

I’m betting they send Chychrun back to junior.  Arizona is deep enough at D that they can do that, and maybe should.

His basic numbers are good at first blush (G-A-PTS), but my understanding is the rest of his numbers aren’t so good, and he’s not getting premier TOI or really facing high QoC.

Posted by Primis on 10/25/16 at 02:17 PM ET

blind1985's avatar

Also:

I’m betting they send Chychrun back to junior.  Arizona is deep enough at D that they can do that, and maybe should.

His basic numbers are good at first blush (G-A-PTS), but my understanding is the rest of his numbers aren’t so good, and he’s not getting premier TOI or really facing high QoC.

I haven’t seen him play, but his minutes seems similar to Sproul. Wonder what the comparison of the numbers between them are.

Posted by blind1985 on 10/25/16 at 02:25 PM ET

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In about 2 years I imagine KH will try to trade for Chychrun, but the asking price will be Larkin.

Posted by VPalmer on 10/25/16 at 02:28 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

George,

Out of curiosity, was any of this piss and vinegar directed to the culprit of the dead capspace in the first place, or did he magically deke this criticism and leave it on Ken’s doorstep?

PS:  If he didn’t trade Pavel’s cap hit, irrespective of Stamkos’s decision, that would’ve been the reason to light the torches, sharpen the pitchforks and march on Holland’s house to protest his staggering ineptitude.

I vote a combination of reflexive and misplaced, with a pinch of helm.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 10/25/16 at 02:31 PM ET

Burr87's avatar

And this is why I’ve lost confidence in Holland. First, they could have drafted Chychrun bit the bullet for 1 year on Dats contract, let Helm walk and still signed Neilsen and maybe Vanek and filled in the rest with prospects. Instead, we’ve lost two assets for nothing, are probably going to lose another one when the team is healthy sent Mantha to GR, benched AA or limited his time for Ott and we’re now in cap Hell. I don’t know if Chychrun will be a stud time will tell.. One thing for sure is if we would have drafted him he’d be in GR right now plugging away and wondering if he’ll ever get a shot to play in the NHL no matter what he does in the minors. Of course it’s all hindsight, but it is certainly a pattern of bad decisions shown by Ken Holland.

 

Posted by Burr87 on 10/25/16 at 02:36 PM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

His basic numbers are good at first blush (G-A-PTS), but my understanding is the rest of his numbers aren’t so good, and he’s not getting premier TOI or really facing high QoC.

Well, he’s got Goligoski, OEL, Schenn in front of him, so you should have expected that they would start him slowly.  I saw a little bit of one ARZ game and he looked pretty smooth.

Posted by duhduhduh on 10/25/16 at 02:38 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Sadly, patience isn’t a virtue many possess these days.

Posted by RedMenace from A Tormented Hellscape on 10/25/16 at 02:54 PM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

looks like his GA60 (64.48 ) is his weakest stat, but it’s better than DDK’s

Posted by duhduhduh on 10/25/16 at 02:55 PM ET

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Is there any reason to believe we’d have picked Chychrun if we hadn’t traded the pick?

I thought the report was that Detroit liked Stanley anyway, and was taking a calculated risk that he’d still be there at 20?

Posted by captaineclectic on 10/25/16 at 03:01 PM ET

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I give Holland as hard a time as anyone and it’s well deserved.  But on this one I just don’t see how we can be pissed.  At the time he absolutely had to take a chance and move Datsyuk’s contract and swing for the fences with Stamkos.  And he did it for a very minimal cost.  The fact that we didn’t get Chychrun is total Monday morning quarterbacking.  Does it seem as of right now that Chychrun is a solid player?  Yeah, .......maybe.  It’s way too early to tell.  And then there’s the other matter of what Chychrun’s path to the NHL would have been if he had been picked by the Wings.  He’d definitely still be playing junior hockey somewhere, and then slowly moved through the system only to get a sniff of the NHL in about 3 years time at the earliest.  What would have happened to him along the way?  Maybe he’d have gotten pissed about being stuck in the system for too long and then tried to find a way out, like some other prospects have.  All I’m saying is that just because Chychrun is looking good in his first few NHL games doesn’t mean he’d have looked good in a Wings jersey 4 years from now.  And I repeat, going into the offseason, KH absolutely had to move the Datsyuk contract and it was originally going to cost a heck of a lot more than it did in the end.

Posted by Wise1 on 10/25/16 at 03:14 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

One thing for sure is if we would have drafted him he’d be in GR right now plugging away and wondering if he’ll ever get a shot to play in the NHL no matter what he does in the minors.

I think he’s too young to play in GR.  It would have been NHL or juniors.

Posted by Hootinani on 10/25/16 at 03:15 PM ET

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I give Holland as hard a time as anyone and it’s well deserved.  But on this one I just don’t see how we can be pissed.

I agree 100%.

We can’t have it both ways—if we want Holland to be aggressive and try to improve this team, reverse its downward spiral, etc., we don’t get to second-guess him when he tries something and it doesn’t completely work out.  And it’s very premature to draw conclusions anyway.

Posted by captaineclectic on 10/25/16 at 03:19 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Well, he’s got Goligoski, OEL, Schenn in front of him, so you should have expected that they would start him slowly.  I saw a little bit of one ARZ game and he looked pretty smooth.

Posted by MoreShoot on 10/25/16 at 03:38 PM ET

Stone and Murphy are also ahead of him.

They really have no need to rush him.  Right now he’s a 3rd pairing playing alongside Schenn.  He’d probably be better-served getting more TOI at another level.

Posted by Primis on 10/25/16 at 03:35 PM ET

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While I don’t disagree with George, i’ll say this:

We also simply don’t know what kinds of impacts Nielsen and Vanek especially are going to have upon the Red Wings over the courses of their respective 5 and 1-year contracts, nor whether Ott will provide viable grit on the fourth line during his year with the Wings. There are many, many unknowns here…

This.

This attitude is the issue. I think when I speak for the angry fans, what they’re pissed about is why Holland thinks this way in the first place? Why do we have to sign helm/vanek and ott? That’s NOT looking forward, that’s looking at present, that’s poor planning, that’s how you make it to the playoffs and lose in 5 games. fans want to see Holland planning for the future with great draft picks and playing the kids. Who cares if we lose a shit ton this season? We’re set up with a high draft pick and more exp for the kids come the new little ceasers’ arena.

That being said.. Holland HAD to move Datsyuk’s cap to make a move on STamkos, that’s all that can be said on that. So in the end, it’s two ways to look at it and Holland chose what he felt was the best path.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 10/25/16 at 03:56 PM ET

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It was not a small secret that Stamkos had already agreed upon but not signed his new deal for PA reasons. He never even met with the Wings. Holland knew he never had a chance to sign him. George has a professional reason for defending his other employers client and preserving his image. Are your arms tired??? Best part is to sign Nielsen and Vanek he didn’t even have to trade the cap hit. He’s a sucker.

Posted by brians neck on 10/25/16 at 07:18 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.